HARRISON, N.J. – Rafa Márquez and Tim Cahill may want one and Thierry Henry might, too, but offseason loans will likely not be as easy to come by as they have been in the past for the New York Red Bulls.
In his first interview with local media, new Red Bulls sporting director Andy Roxburgh admitted on Tuesday that he is not keen on sending players on European loans during the MLS offseason. The 69-year-old Roxburgh, who joined the club on Nov. 9 after spending several years as UEFA’s sporting director, said he prefers his players use that down time for rest and relaxation to prepare for the upcoming season.
Still, Roxburgh was not completely against the idea of shipping his players abroad.
“I'd say in general we wouldn't be too positive about letting them go on loan, but against that, it depends on the individual, it depends on the circumstances,” Roxburgh told reporters in his near hour-long media session. “You can't say never on that one, but it's unlikely at the moment.”
Reports surfaced in Europe on Monday claiming that Henry and Cahill could request returns to their former clubs, Arsenal and Everton, during the upcoming winter. Márquez has also been adamant about securing a loan since the end of the season in order to regain match fitness and general sharpness after an injury-plagued 2012.
The Red Bulls’ three Designated Players may be seeking offseason loans, but Roxburgh said no one has come calling for them yet.
"Right now, we don't have any requests for that,” he said. “That's the first thing. No one has requested any players to go on loan like that. If such a request come in, then we'll need to view each one in its own right.”
Roxburgh, who said early in his sit-down with media that fans drive the club, also touched on the controversial Márquez's current standing with the Red Bulls. New York fans want the Mexican international gone after back-to-back seasons ended with Márquez being sent off, but Roxburgh was noncommittal about veteran’s future.
"He has another year to run in his contract, so he is contracted here,” said Roxburgh. “He's been very unfortunate in terms of a lot of injuries, which hasn't helped. I saw him play often at Barcelona, and he's obviously a gifted player, he's very talented.
“But he's had a lot of injuries and some unfortunate situations as well and all I would say is like all of the players at the moment, we're talking to them all."
Franco Panizo covers the New York Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com.